Critical Period Hypothesis

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The critical period hypothesis for language acquisition was popularized by neurologist Eric Lenneberg. The hypothesis suggests that if an individual is not exposed to language during a specific period in their childhood then they will have great difficulties acquiring language later in life (Redmond, 1993). I believe the two “wild children” cases of Genie and Victor provides evidence to support the critical period hypothesis. Genie’s case supports the hypothesis because although she developed a vocabulary and despite all of her intense therapy sessions, she still was not able to create meaningful and grammatically correct sentences (Garmon, 1994). Genie’s inability to create real sentences may indicate that she endured the extreme deprivation during her critical period and it prevented her from acquiring language. Victor’s case also supports the critical period hypothesis. The professionals in the documentary The Secret of The Wild Child stated: “While Victor knew how to read simple words, he never learned how to talk” (Garmon, 1994). This quote implicates that similar to Genie, Victor developed a vocabulary, …show more content…

If Genie’s impairment was congenital or caused by nature, then it would provide a great amount of evidence to the nature prospective but if her impairment was developed or caused by her environment then it would provide a great amount of evidence for the nurture argument. Watching The Secret of The Wild Child, I felt an enormous amount of sympathy for Genie. The thing I found most disturbing was the fact that she was tethered to a potty, she could have caught a wide range of disease from it. What I found most interesting about the documentary was how her rehabilitation team allowed her experiment to fall through. I believe that Genie could have benefited more if the experiment

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